Online Shoppers May Face New Customs Charges
The Government is considering its options over applying GST to goods and services that are bought online or from overseas.
An extra 15 percent will make little difference to most people buying online because local retailers charge much more than this. But what has not been mentioned is the impact of Customs clearance charges.
These might not apply if GST was charged by the overseas seller, depending on how the system was implemented. However, not every overseas seller would be bothered with, registering with New Zealand for GST purposes, and for imports from these, a customs import entry would need to be completed as it is now for all goods over $400.
Currently, customs charge $25.44 as an import transaction fee, plus a $17.37 biosecurity levy, plus GST on both of these, totalling $49.24. Then there is a charge by the customs agent for preparing the entry, which can range from $50 to $100, plus other associated charges.
These charges may be fair just and perhaps almost insignificant for a commercial import of $1000 or more. But they would be expensive and unjust for the private importer of a $15 pair of jeans plus a $10 T-shirt, who would be caught under the proposed minimum of $20.
The Government, in its haste to protect the retailer, needs to explain how it plans to avoid penalising the small consumer.
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